Between Halloween and the Christmas season, our teeth take a beating with the sugary snacks we tend to indulge in for the season. However, Thanksgiving can be a healthy break between those two sugar-filled holidays, if you do it right. We made a guide below to help you find foods to eat on Thanksgiving that are healthier for you and your teeth.
If your Thanksgiving celebrations will include people coming over well before the main dinner is served, you’re probably planning to have a few snacks and appetizers set out for munching.
Prepare a veggie tray for your guests, rather than trays full of cookies or other sweets. Since you will most likely be having sweets after the meal, save them specifically for dessert. A veggie tray is a staple of gatherings, which provides fiber and also serves as a natural cleanser for teeth.
As the main staple of any Thanksgiving meal, we would never tell you to leave turkey off the table. Turkey has a lot of protein in it, which is always good for the health of your bones and your teeth.
Make sure to floss after eating turkey, as the texture of the meat makes it especially easy to get caught between your teeth.
Along with the turkey on the table, cranberry sauce is a common tradition when it comes to Thanksgiving feasts. While some canned cranberry sauces may be processed and sweetened heavily, cranberries themselves are good for you and your teeth.
If you’re able to make homemade cranberry sauce, you can control the amount of added sugar and get the vitamins that are in cranberries (Vitamins C & E, and potassium).
Mashed potatoes contain Vitamin C, B6 as well as potassium, which are all good for the health of your teeth. Sweet potatoes, or yams, also contain a healthy portion of Vitamins A and C.
The downfall of potatoes are the toppings. Mashed potatoes are usually covered in gravy at thanksgiving, which reduce the health benefits of the food. Sweet potatoes often come cooked with marshmallows mixed in, which contain a lot of sugar that you don’t want for your teeth. Find recipes that allow you to season your potatoes with spices, rather than filling them up with marshmallows, brown sugar, extra butter, or too much gravy.
Similar to the turkey, dessert with your Thanksgiving meal is considered a staple. Instead of gobbling down on pecan pie, which contains loads of corn syrup and brown sugar, opt for a slice of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie will still satisfy your Thanksgiving sweet tooth, and offer some nutritional value found in the pumpkin.
Aside from the healthy food choices that will help keep your teeth squeaky clean, your habits can also have a big effect. On Thanksgiving, it’s easy to graze on food over the course of the day and have a few glasses of wine, but forget to brush your teeth before taking a nap. To avoid this, try sticking to only feasting during the main Thanksgiving meal, and make sure that you can brush your teeth afterwards.